On asking Vir Das what his love letter to beer would read like, he simply says, “You make many people enjoy my comedy. So it’s only fair that I get to enjoy you and pay tribute to you.” And he is honouring his beloved beverage with the launch of his own craft beer Faaaakit. Yup, you read that right. That’s what the beer is called–super witty, just like the standup comedian. Described as a happy beer made for everyone, you can pronounce Faaaakit however you are feeling on that day.
The marriage between stand up comedy and a good time over a beer propelled Vir to launch the light, crisp and fruity flavour of beer, which is brewed by Great State Aleworks. Over a phone call with Vir (who’s currently on tour), I had an engaging conversation with him about his new venture, stand-up comedy, future plans and more.
View this post on Instagram
ELLE: We love the name of your beer. How did you come up with it?
Vir Das (VD): I feel like it’s a name that works for anything. And it’s the word that you say right before you have a beer, like ‘F**k it, let’s have a beer.’ So that works for a good or bad day, when you’re meeting a friend or asking somebody out, whether you’re travelling or unwinding–it just works for everything. But also, the thought behind the beer is that I don’t drink hard alcohol because I don’t like the taste. And I’m not ashamed of the fact that I want my beer to taste good. That’s how I reward myself at the end of a film schedule, or a tour. I noticed that beer has become very alpha male, and a bit hipster-exclusive and alienated. I wondered where’s the beer for people who don’t give a shit? Or aren’t trying too hard and are good at being themselves. I wanted to design that. And that lines up with the psychology of those who come and see my shows as well. They don’t care about the perception, they’re supremely chill, they want to have a good time. So yeah, Faaaakit! That’s where it came from.
ELLE: It took you a year to perfect the flavour of this beer. Can you tell us about the process and the challenges you overcame to achieve the flavour of your choice?
VD: Well, I kind of knew I wanted to do it about a year and a half ago, but the pandemic made me wait. I knew that I wanted to call it Faaakit. I knew what it represented. About a year ago, I started shopping in the market for homemade goods and we got a ton of names. And then the one name that kept coming up was Great State Aleworks. So I sat down with them. It took about seven sessions of just trying and tasting the beer. The pool included me, three women, my graphic designer, and then some beer snobs from their end because I was determined that I’m making the anti-snob beer. I want to make beer for everyone. I knew I wanted a beer that you could start drinking in the daytime, maybe on Sunday, and you wouldn’t be hammered by 4 pm. You’d be able to eat after that. I wanted a beer that a man and a woman could drink together as well.
ELLE: When was the first time you had a sip of beer?
VD: I think I might have been 20 and I was in New Friends colony market, where there used to be a pub called Pebble Street. I had a pitcher of beer there with a girl who I was trying to summon up the guts to ask out but never managed to find the courage. So that’s probably my first beer.
ELLE: Do you plan to include the beer in your stand up act? Or would you just want your fans to enjoy it while they watch you perform?
VD: I think one should be able to survive my show whether you have a beer or not or whether you’re a drinker or not. I mean, the act has to be that good, right? It’s just an extension of who you are. We’re trying to be as authentic with it as we can, in terms of the thought process. And also the campaign, the video got half a million views overnight. We had seen a ton of agencies who’d given us fancy scripts. But then we just kind of went ‘Faaakit’ and did it ourselves. We shot the video on my camera, I edited it on my laptop, I wrote the script, and my in house graphic designer designed the entire packaging. My bandmate Shehzaad did the jingle. We did it within 24 hours and put it up without a single external agency. Which is kind of how I want to do the rest of it as well. Let’s keep it 100% real.
View this post on Instagram
ELLE: You’ve been doing standup comedy for so many years now. What do you think about the future of this profession?
VD: I think it’s great. It’s never been a more important part of the conversation. I think the conversation has never been louder from both ends, where comedians usually used to do shows and move on to the next city. But now you get to hear your audience, gauge your audience, and they have platforms to reach you. And that only makes you better as an artist, whether it’s pop culture, politics, news, celebrity, or these culture wars or identity conversations, the first thing we look for is, of course, the real take on it. But the second thing we look for is the funny take on it, which is a valuable thing. So it’s never been a better time to be a comedian.
ELLE: How do you deal with people who don’t get your jokes or take offence to them, especially on social media?
VD: I think that’s fine. If I’m going to have the freedom to talk about anything, I will definitely give people the freedom to respond in any way they feel. And a humble artist takes that feedback and moves on, I’ll always engage, but I won’t engage with threats. So hey, don’t abuse. And the difference between the two is always usually very clear.
ELLE: What would you like to tell budding stand up comedians?
VD: Try and make sure you’re having a good time and the audience will. Try and put yourself into the show as much as you can.
ELLE: After your tour, what’s next for you?
VD: I just shot, directed and starred in a series on an Indian OTT platform that will release soon. I have an American TV show titled Country Eastern with Fox Entertainment. An American movie next year, and then a Hindi movie by the end of next year.
Currently, the beer will be available across Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad.